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Experts blast Christchurch hospital plans
HOSPITAL chiefs have been criticised for their revised plans for Christchurch hospital by local heritage experts still unhappy with the proposal.
Despite Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust resubmitting plans after members of Christchurch council’s planning committee turned down their £10million proposal, historians are still calling for the preservation of H Block.
But hospital bosses say H Block is still earmarked for demolition, although they have altered the design and features of the buildings set to replace the former workhouse infirmary.
Richard Renaut, director of service development said: “It’s a straight choice between keeping services or having empty buildings.
“H block is an unlisted building that has been empty for several years, as it is unfit for healthcare use.
“An independent expert report has concluded it would cost an extra £5m to keep and convert the building, above and beyond the current investment on the actual site.
“This is money that isn’t available and can’t be justified, especially because the facilities at the end would be far less usable and far more costly to run.”
But Sue Newman, from Christchurch Conservation Trust said while she doesn’t object to houses at the back of the site, she continues to wonder why they have to take H Block out.
“It is not just the loss of the building, but the building of a truly massive care home for a private developer not even where H Block now stands, but in front of it, on the green, also part of the conservation area,” she said.
“And, to add insult to injury, a senior living development is also proposed on the conservation area open space.”
She added: “Why can’t H Block be sold? Its dedicated role in nursing injured soldiers from both wars makes it rather a war memorial.
“Most importantly, there were national planning policies given for the refusal, policies the Trust had not complied with, and I cannot see this new application complies with them either.”
Other aspects of the revised plans include an 80-bed care home and plans for 36 senior living apartments as well as 78 keyworker flats, reduced from 81.
Should the plans not be approved on March 14, funding for the GP surgery proposed for the site, will be lost, the Trust says.